Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Would You Like Some Google Takeout?

One of the common concerns or question that I hear from educators (usually school administrators) about using Google services revolves around the question of "can I get my information out of Google?" The answer is yes. At the Google Takeout site you can create an offline archive of your data. To do so just visit Google Takeout and select the service(s) you want to archive.

The History of Timezones - A TED-Ed Lesson

Today, I am traveling to Phoenix, Arizona to work with some teachers there tomorrow and on Friday. The more I travel and the more I work with people outside of my home area the more I find myself asking, "what time is it there?" My friend Angela often asks me the same thing when we plan conference calls. Where did timezones come from? What is "standard time?" The answers to those questions and more can be found in the short TED-Ed lesson How Did Trains Standardize Timezones in the United States? Watch the video below.

Applications for Education
To extend the lesson take a look at some of these resources about daylight saving time and ask your students if they think that daylight saving time is still important today.

New Webinar Series - How To Use Google Drive in School

Back in December and January I offered a webinar series about using Google Drive in school. The webinars sold out quickly and not everyone who wanted to get into one was able to. Therefore, I'm offering it again in March.  How to Use Google Drive in School will meet on three Tuesday evenings in March.

Course Highlights 
*Creating and sharing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets.
*Using Google Documents and Presentations for collaborative writing and reading exercises.
*Using Google Forms and Spreadsheets for collecting and analyzing data.
*Using Google Documents as a publishing platform.
*Managing the flow of files in your Google Drive.
Registration is limited to 25 students per course.

This course is designed for educators who: 
*Are new to using Google Drive/ Documents.
*Have previously used Google Drive/ Documents but would like a refresher course.
*Would like to learn how Google Drive/ Documents can be used to help their students meet ELA Common Core Standards.

Click here to register today!
Click here to learn more about the course on my new site

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What Matters Most To Me When Ranking Educational Blogs (Hint, It's Not Traffic)

Last month the Teach 100 was launched for the purpose of trying to rank the popularity and influence of educational blogs. Today, Larry Ferlazzo drew my attention to another top 100 ranking produced by Onalytica. And it seems like at least once a week I see some kind of list of "the top 50 (or 10 or 100) blogs for teachers of X." In fact, I recently wrote a few posts in which I recommended a handful of blogs for language arts, math, and history teachers

But trying to get on these lists is not why most of us blog. Why we blog is to try to help others learn from our work. So what really matters when you see a list of "influential blogs" isn't how much traffic a blog gets or where it ranks on a list. What matters is whether or not you like the blog and you benefit from reading it. I read lots of blogs that don't appear on any lists yet they're blogs that I count as the most influential to me. My top 100 and your top 100 will always be different and they should be. Otherwise we're all just reading the same stuff and that gets boring after a while.

Class Badges Adds a New Make Your Own Badges Option

Class Badges is a free achievement tracking service that launched late last year. On Class Badges teachers create goals for their students. When students reach their goals teachers give them a badge to them to keep in their student profiles. Teachers can create goals for things like completing a large research project, for perfect attendance, or for completing an informal learning activity with their parents while visiting a local museum. This month they have added the option to create your own custom badges for anything that you would like to track and reward your students for doing.

Applications for Education
Class Badges is being used by some teachers to help students track their progress toward the completion of large research projects. Some teachers are using Class Badges to document students' mastery of key elements of course curriculum.